05 December 2012

Iowans Encroach on Nebraska Property at Carter Lake

Property owners in Iowa have encroached upon Nebraska land along the shore of Carter Lake.

The extent of Nebraska includes a portion of the shoreline which abuts the City of Carter Lake, where adjacent property owners have built features on property which is not within the state of Iowa, as indicated by maps provided by county assessors for Douglas County, Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, Iowa.

For much of the extent of Carter Lake, a Missouri River oxbow lake created during a big flood of 1877, the state-line is within the water area of the lake, but in its eastern extent, there is a fringe of land on the west side of the lake area which is within Nebraska, based upon details as indicated by maps available at the websites of the county assessors for Douglas County, Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, Iowa.

There are two particular, known instances where City of Carter Lake property owners have encroached upon the lake shore, onto property which they do not own, based upon parcel ownership indicated by the Douglas County assessor.

At one site, two docks were built and a wall constructed along the edge of the lake, to the west of the big pier in Levi Carter Park. A bit of a distance to the south, another extensive project using lots of rock rip-rap was dumped to stabilize the bank and create a private expanse of lawn. Further southward, an eastern fringe of the Iowa West Ranch, is also indicated as being Nebraska land.

East Carter Lake Iowa, showing property parcels and the county line.

Southeast Levi Carter Park, showing the Douglas county parcel boundary, and the Nebraska state line.

These encroachments occurred years ago...

There is a lengthy extent of the lake-side which is apparently public property, owned by the City of Omaha, according to details conveyed by the Douglas County assessor GIS-map available online. The space is indicated as being a part of Levi Carter Park.

Property ownership has obviously not been considered, based upon land-owner action and related actions, or inaction from another perspective.

A boundary between Nebraska and Iowa based upon the twists and turns of the Missouri River have been distinctive in many places along the rivers way. The situation at Carter Lake is another example of encroachment and ignorance.

The City of Omaha should establish ownership of this lake-side property, for many reasons. One essential rationale is that private constructs should not be allowed on public property. Also, public ownership would be useful for protecting the area as green space along the lake.

Private docks on City of Omaha property at Carter Lake. The docks and wall should be removed and the site restored and reconnected to the lake waters.